On the occasion of my birthday today, I thought I would offer you, dear reader, one bit of wisdom for each of my years of life. I’m “over the hump,” so to speak, of my 20’s, but I’ve been fortunate to amass advice that has helped me survive – and thrive – up until now. Here are 26 tips for survival in your 20s.
1. Nurture relationships with (at least four) close friends. You will need them when the going gets rough.
13. Seek out a mentor – an older, wiser person who has an objective view on your life (preferably not your parents).
14. Get some good anti-virus and security software on your computer.
16. Keep all your tax forms in one place, so that you can pull out last year’s as needed (yes, you can be audited in your 20’s).
17. Emergency contacts. When you travel (as we 20-somethings do), bring a card with emergency contact numbers to be able to cancel your credit cards and phone. Keep this in a different place than your passport, credit cards, and cell phone.
18. Back up your computer files. Technology fails.
19. Be humble. Clearly we DO know everything in our 20’s, but humility will sail you far in the real world.
20. Live as simply as possible. Having less stuff frees you up to be able to pack up and go wherever you want whenever you want. Reducing your expenses allows you to do the crazier stuff that makes your 20’s memorable (see #17).
21. Do not live too far in the past (in memories or regrets), nor too far in the future (in expectations or anxieties). Be present. Cultivate mindfulness, while you’re eating, working, spending time with friends, or suffering through another holiday dinner with family.
22. Learn to cook. This is cheaper, easier, and sexier than going out for food all the time ... or than relying on your mom to make your meals.
23. Pray. Find a mechanism to connect with your spiritual side and be unapologetic about it ... it’s like free therapy any time you want!
24. Professional growth. We’ve all got to pay our dues at crappy jobs, but if yours is truly stealing your soul, give yourself a time limit there. Your 20’s are too precious to spend cooped up in an office you hate. Also, take mental health days when you need them!
25. Consider what your dream job is before you get that tattoo. Are they compatible?
26. Don’t plan too far ahead. Do you have a 10-year plan? That’ll change. If you put all your trust in well-laid plans, you risk falling to pieces if they do too.
If you were speaking to your 19-just-about-to-turn-20-year-old self, what survival tips would you give?